Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011: A Mystically Portentous Date, If You Believe In That Sort of Crap

Today—November 11, 2011—is the eleventh day of the the eleventh month of a year that ends with “eleven.” Or, to put it in big orange letters,


Kinda neat, huh?

For those who don’t pay particularly close attention to this sort of thing, or have little patience for certain brands of semi-mystical baloney, this is a nifty, neat-looking little coincidence, but nothing more. Sure, time itself does in fact exist,1 and it is concrete and unchangeable, except of course when it’s not.2 But our systems of measuring and recording time are just as arbitrary and subjective as most other human inventions, so there’s no reason to view a particularly interesting alignment of dates as being intrinsically more important than any other day. 

To illustrate this point of view, what follows is today’s date3 according to several different calendars, all of them created by meticulous observation of the sun, moon, stars, and seasons, but nevertheless ending up with different and decidedly non-mystical ways of indicating the very same date:

  • Chinese calendar: Cycle 78, year 28 (Xin-Mao), month 10 (Ji-Hai), day 16 (Geng-Wu)
  • Coptic calendar: 1 Hatur 1728     
  • French calendar: 21 Brumaire an 220 de la Révolution
  • Hebrew calendar: 14 Heshvan 5772  
  • Indian calendar: 20 Kartika 1933   
  • Islamic calendar: 14 Dhu al-Hijjah 1432
  • Julian calendar: October 29, 2011  
  • Maya calendar:; tzolkin = 1 Ix; haab = 2 Ceh   
  • Persian calendar: 20 Aban 1390   
  • YOOB calendar: February 2, Year 34

It’s hard to imagine that the ancient Romans, for example, are all excited about today being October 29, 2011. Granted, the ancient Romans are all long dead, and so aren’t very excited about anything, but we argue that another reason for this is that there’s no more mystical significance to a Julian 10/29/2011 than there is to a Gregorian 11/11/11.

If this doesn’t blow your mind,
try reading it backwards.
For other folks, though, this rare coincidence of numbers signals an event no less momentous, certain, and undeniable than the apocalypse that didn’t happen on May 12, 2011, or the next one that won’t happen in late December 2012.

The 11:11 Spirit Guardians, for example, offer an e-mail list to which you can sign up “to receive the beautiful uplifting messages from various types of Celestial Beings.”5 Their website also offers a section on poetry related to the 11:11 phenomenon. “Forever . . .,” for example, promises the reader that 

During the time it will take for this poem to be completed,
. . . no animals were either killed or injured in the production
by either this writer, or his immediate friends.

We feel obligated to point out that not once did Shakespeare, Poe, Tennyson, or Maya Angelou promise not to use their poetry to kill animals.

The web page for The N Visible explains that “in May 2004, the 6th Gate Activation turned the Doorway of the 11:11 inside out,” and that “11:11 is a pre-encoded trigger placed into our cellular memory banks prior to our descent into matter.” We can’t pretend to know what any of this means, but we do like that the website features photographs of warm and inviting rituals that could be mistaken for a reenactment of the end credits to The 40-Year-Old Virgin:
Definitely not serious.
Apparently serious.

As much as we like the idea of receiving messages from Celestial Beings, frolicking on well-manicured seaside lawns while waiting to become part of the emerging universal One Being, or refusing to kill animals with the power of the written word, we’re inclined to take a more practical view of today’s date. According to an online author going by the name paradigmsearch,6

Even when taking into account the differences between the Gregorian and Julian calendars, nothing significant appears to have happened 900 years ago during the year 1111; nothing significant appears to have happened 1,000 years ago during the year 1011; [and] nothing significant appears to have happened 2,000 years ago during the year 11. 

So November 11, 2011, will probably be just as dull and un-momentous as those other momentous dates. Except that we have iPads, because this is the future.

If today does indeed turn out to be as mundane and uneventful as we expect it to be, we hope that the mystical optimists among us don’t take it too badly. We suspect that, rather than despairing, many of these folks will latch onto something that happens today—whether it’s a flat tire, a long look from an attractive co-worker, or a free fourteenth donut in their baker’s dozen—and fill it with an entire belief system’s worth of significance that it doesn’t really deserve, much like they did with the date itself.

On the other hand, Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, is scheduled to be released today, and if that doesn’t make this a momentous, mystical date, we don’t know what does.

Way, way cooler than a
new spiritual awakening: eyelashes.

1. As far as we know. We’re not sure if we’d trust us, though, if we were you. Frankly, we’re idiots.
2. Thanks a lot, Einstein.
4. Year of Our Blog. We started on October 10, 2009.
5. Bulk e-mail having been long ago established as the message medium of choice for celestial beings. 
6. Seriously, how weird is that? What kind of oddball uses a fake name?


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